The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

CINDY WOOD/independent feature writer

Downtown Van Wert has a new resident.

The interior of the MOD Boutique features a number of trendy and one-of-a-kind fashion items. (Cindy Wood/Van Wert independent)

The interior of the MOD Boutique features a number of trendy and one-of-a-kind fashion items. (Cindy Wood/Van Wert independent)

Located at 107 W. Main St., MOD Boutique recently opened its doors for business, offering a wide variety of trendy and hip clothing, as well as one-of-a-kind items for those last-minute holiday shoppers.

For the past few months, the blinds were drawn as the boutique was prepared for opening day. The store is now stocked full of inventory that can’t be found with a simple trip to the mall, owner Emily Banks said.

“You won’t find all the pieces we have by just going to the mall,” she added. “I’ve tried to base a lot of the fashion that I’m bringing to Van Wert on the California and New York styles. I’m trying to update the area in fashion.”

If early sales are an indication, MOD Boutique has done just that. Initial response from the community has been overwhelming and Banks is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support she’s received during the store’s opening.

Well-wishers have offered their support on social media and Main Street Van Wert has been instrumental throughout the process.

“Everyone has just been wonderful, and all the downtown businesses have helped me spread the word,” Banks said, adding that she recently unveiled the store’s new Facebook page.

While the boutique offers a variety of items, Banks said one of her more popular items is high-quality denim typically only found in larger cities.

“We offer the LA Idol denim, which is the same designer as the Miss Me line, and we have the Flying Monkey denim as well, so I’m really trying to bring high-quality denim to a smaller area,” she noted.

Additionally, MOD Boutique is offering Capri Blue candles, a brand also sold at the wildly popular store Anthropologie.

“I wanted to offer modern and unique items that are up-to-date and on trend, but are also one-of-a-kind unique pieces that you can’t go to your normal retail department store to find,” Banks said, adding that she designed the boutique with inspiration from Pinterest and Etsy. “It’s a nice mix of antique but with modern flair.”

Opening the boutique feels like coming full circle for Banks, who has always been interested in, and stayed up to date with, fashion trends.

“I was always really big on YouTube videos and kept up on beauty and fashion,” she said. “I would spend all my free time at the mall just to make sure I was up on the latest thing.”

Banks enjoys a career as a human resources coordinator, but she said opening the boutique has always been a dream of hers. “It’s my interest and it’s always something I wanted to do,” she said, adding that she has always enjoyed working with people.

That dream became a reality when a building on West Main Street opened up and Banks began seriously considering opening a boutique. Going into it, she said she erred on the side of “start small, and think big.”

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect for opening day, so when I did my first order, I was cautious on purchasing a lot of products at once because I didn’t know how good it was going to go,” Banks said, admitting “I was really nervous about that. So I started out small and got the traffic in and went from there.”

Banks said she would wait until after the holidays to begin measuring sales flow patterns. “That’s when I’ll really be able to see how much I’m selling,” she explained. “Once it slows down a bit in January, I’ll be able to tell when I get most of my foot traffic in, and what my true sales are going to be.”

Although she’s had her share of bumps and bruises in opening the new boutique, Banks is looking forward to a long and successful run in downtown Van Wert.

“The biggest obstacle we’ve had to face is getting our products restocked in a timely manner, but a lot of that has been the weather and the holiday season,” Banks said. “But things are settling down and we have new arrivals coming in every week and I’m really hoping people stop in to see what we have.”

The boutique will remain open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday of this week to give people time to pick up that last-minute gift.

For more information, visit the MOD Boutique Facebook page.

POSTED: 12/23/13 at 3:40 am. FILED UNDER: News